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Ryan Evans says that Salisbury leaders need to connect with city’s youths

Candidate

Ryan Evans, Candidate for Salisbury City Council. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — At 27 years old, Ryan Evans is the youngest candidate for Salisbury City Council.

Because of his age, he said he has a good relationship with the community’s youth, especially high school students.

“A lot of them can name me by name if they see me. If they can’t remember my name, they can say, ‘Oh, you’re (her) uncle,’” Evans said.

Evans graduated from North Rowan High School in 2008 and said he regularly goes back to visit teachers and attend football games. He said he talks with and encourages students there.

“And it’s not like I’m really trying to bribe them or make them do something. But it’s just like pushing; that little push,” Evans said.

Because he is present in the lives of the community’s young people, he believes they will talk to him and trust him with information that could help reduce crime.

“You can go out there and every high school student … in the immediate city area, they can tell you who’s doing what. They hear more stories out there on a daily basis than we do as an adult,” Evans said. “With them being over there, I feel like if you can find a way to get to the youth and combine with them and they work with the police force, you can identify key targets.” 

On crime 

In addition to involving the city’s youths, Evans said involving the family members and friends of those who are committing crimes could help reduce crime.

“Each of these members of kingpins, they have family members. And each family member has friends. Some of those people work throughout the city and throughout the community in different positions. And I believe, once you get to them and let them know what’s trying to be done, they have an option. Work with them or work against it,” Evans said.

He said the opioid crisis is the city’s biggest concern.

“And how I would say I’d put a stop to it is pretty much figure out who are the main people involved in the city. Once you figure out how it’s coming in, where it’s coming through, which side and where and attack there, pretty much going for the bigger person and working our way down,” Evans said. “With the bigger persons gone, I don’t think they can still operate.”

On schools

“I believe the City Council should have a voice and at the same time respect the boundaries and leave the school (board) to do it,” Evans said.

If he were to suggest something to the school board, it would be that the schools use computers and technology as a reward for dedicated students rather than something given to everyone.

“I believe it should only be for those students who display they want that type of training, they want that type of knowledge. Not saying there should be separation, but that effort has to be put forth and we have to see that effort,” Evans said.

He said he doesn’t think that would create an unfair advantage but would instead act as encouragement.

“Those students that want to learn, that want to go further in their life, that are pushing themselves, that’s where those rewards come in,” Evans said. “Those students that are not, you shouldn’t have the technology. You should be by the books until you understand. Then, once you learn the books and you can pass the tests in the books, then you can receive the computers.”

On recruiting business

Evans said local businesses are “strong.”

“But at the same time, if we were to get outside companies, I feel like that would be a major boost as far as the economy,” Evans said.

He said he would want to convert the old mall off Jake Alexander Boulevard, which is currently owned by Rowan County, into a mall again.

“We need a mall. If we’re going to compete with any of these bigger cities and we want to get the type of living standard and bring the type of money in that these other cities (do), we need a mall,” Evans said. “You want those businesses? There’s a place for those businesses that’s not interfering with those in-town, hometown businesses.”

The IDEA Center that is currently slated to occupy the mall is “the perfect idea,” but just not for that location, he said.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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